We all want the best talent we can find when we’re recruiting.   Have you faced the situation where you look for 10 “must haves” in candidates for a position and you find 8 out of the 10?  Is that good enough?  Recruiting is what I’ve been doing for the past 17 years and when it comes to hiring for my own organization, I see the same challenges our clients face—some candidates check most of the boxes, but I’m looking for a superstar!


How do I define superstar leaders?


  1. They are strategic.
  2. They can execute.
  3. There is evidence that they “play nice in the sandbox” with their peers and can influence others when needed.
  4. They have the right technical, business and general industry skills/knowledge.
  5. They are a cultural match.
  6. They have good emotional intelligence.
  7. They know how to build relationships.
  8. They can be humble and admit when they are wrong.
  9. They are results oriented and can provide evidence of it.
  10.  They meet the minimum educational and experience requirements (this is pretty much a given).


That’s my definition.  So what do I do if the candidates I’m talking to check most of the boxes, but not all of them?  Where can I give?  We each have to decide what we want them to bring to the table versus what we can teach or develop in them.  Some things are more important than others—for example, you can’t teach emotional intelligence.  Each company, position and hiring manager has a different perspective.  This is why recruiting is part science and part art.   It takes years of interviewing people to see patterns—what works and what doesn’t work.


One of my clients recently interviewed several director candidates I presented to her. She chose the one with the most experience gaps because the person had the potential long term to bring the most value.  Prioritizing and understanding the non-negotiables is the first step we need to take as a hiring manager.  Be ready to give on those things that aren’t as important. We don’t need to check all the boxes to hire a superstar—we just need to check the RIGHT boxes!


Rosie Saenz is a Principal & Executive Recruiter at Morgan Consulting Resources, a healthcare executive search firm celebrating over 20 successful years in business.

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